William Trowbridge

Post Mortem
May 23, 2024 Trowbridge William

February 3, 1959


You might not see the bodies in the famous photo
of the Cessna wadded against a farm fence,


first responders standing, arms down,
in the fresh snow. But in another,


the flattened white figure ten feet away
was Buddy Holley, Richie Valens’ remains


sprawled a few yards east. The Bopper’s
barely visible, jettisoned some 40 feet


beyond the fence. You wouldn’t want to see
any closer. The coroner’s report mentions


“spongy” chests, missing brain matter,
the plane having hit the ground at around


170 miles an hour and rolling 500 feet
or so into a ball, flinging out bodies,


before it hit the fence, pilot inside.
A Caddy ambulance, idling, stares ahead.


I was a high school senior then. I don’t
know why I’m telling you all this.

William Trowbridge’s ninth poetry collection, Call Me Fool, was published by Red Hen Press in the fall of 2022.  He is a mentor in the University of Nebraska Omaha Low-residency MFA in Writing Program and was Poet Laureate of Missouri from 2012 to 2016. For more information, see his web site williamtrowbridge.net.